The View from the Playground…Inclusion in Ecuador
On Friday, November 22, we had the incredible honor of marking the grand opening of the very first inclusive playground in Ecuador!
The City of Cuenca’s Mayor Paúl Granda López and his wife Gabriela Velez, along with former Vice President Lenin Moreno’s wife Rocio Gonzalez, celebrated side-by-side with hundreds of children of all abilities…some of whom experienced swinging and integrated play for the very first time in their lives.
Among those also celebrating this landmark playground were: Pat Faust, President of Landscape Structures, Jane Jenewein, Strategic Alliance Manager of Landscape Structures, Tiffany Harris, Co-Founder & CEO of Shane’s Inspiration, Brad Thornton, Director of Project Development at Shane’s Inspiration, and Marnie Norris, Director of Programs at Shane’s Inspiration.
The City embraced this fully-inclusive play space, which was originally inspired by the former Vice President’s office. On a deeper level, they embraced the core inspiration behind these play spaces: the knowledge that all children and adults deserve to participate in the life of their community.
Days prior to this amazing event, Shane’s Inspiration trained over 80 student teachers from the Universidad del Azuay.
They explored the concepts of social inclusion, play facilitation, and building connections between children with and without disabilities. Those students led the charge at the grand opening, engaging with and supporting the children as they played.
While there, we also demonstrated our education program for the City of Cuenca with 25 wonderful 8-year-old students at the Andes School. In the next two weeks, they will partner with students with disabilities to inaugurate the new playground with the first integrated field trip!
Shane’s Inspiration was honored to work with an amazing team of people that include: former Vice President Lenin Moreno, Dr. Alex Camacho Vásconez –General Secretary of SETEDIS, Isabel Maldonado Vasco, Melita Vega with the City of Cuenca’s Accion Social Municipal, Andrea Costales, and Andres Sevilla, among many others who built the playground.
From Los Angeles to Cuenca…it has been a powerful journey that is inspiring inclusion across the globe. Next stop on our world tour…Sochi, Russia. Stay tuned!
The View from the Playground
Laying the Foundation for Change
In Cuenca, Ecuador, the foundation of change is physically being laid. The local government is putting in the first layers of rubberized surfacing, know as buffing, on what is about to be christened the very first inclusive playground in the country.
Now former Vice President Lenin Moreno has been championing change in Ecuador since he acquired his own disability in 1998. Today, thanks to his vision and tireless work, the country has shifted its strategies in supporting people with cognitive, physical, and sensory differences.
The playground was one of the missing elements.
For the past year, Shane’s Inspiration has been partnering on the design, facilitating community input, and supporting the development process. In three weeks time, we will travel to Cuenca to celebrate the grand opening on November 22 of this inclusive play space, laying our own final layers:
launching Together, We Are Able and My PlayClub programs that will support and sustain the impact of this inclusion legacy project!
More to follow on the road to Cuenca…